Homemade Shampoo & Conditioner for Natural Hair

shampoo and conditoner.jpg

I’m growing my hair out a little.  I want a bit of a ‘fro.  I don’t post too much about my hair here but I post occasional photos on Instagram.  Since I cut my hair, I haven’t been too concerned about the products I use.  As long as it looked how I wanted and wasn’t breaking, I was fine with it.  But now that I want to grow it a little, I’m more conscious of its health.  I find that I get the best growth and length retention when I use products that are mostly natural/homemade.

I absolutely love Aubrey Organics shampoo and conditioner.

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But total cost for these 2 items is over $22.  Sometimes I splurge.  Most of the time, I just make shampoo and conditioner.  It costs me $2.50 to make 8 ounces of conditioner and $1.18 to make 8 ounces of shampoo.  And I would say my homemade stuff is pretty good.  I buy the majority of my supplies from Brambleberry.  I also buy a few things here and there from Mountain Rose Herbs.  The more you buy, the cheaper it is.

My only notes on these recipes are:

  1. The shampoo is not foamy and sudsy.  I know that’s a good thing because it means that it’s not sucking all the moisture out of my hair.  But still, there’s something so satisfying about thick lather.  Truthfully, I try to only wash my scalp.  Despite the lack of lather, my scalp is always squeaky clean after using this.
  2. My favorite thing about the shampoo is that it doesn’t dry my hair out and if I’m in a rush, I can use it with no conditioner and my hair still feels soft and supple.  
  3. My favorite thing about the conditioner is that it’s the only homemade conditioner I’ve ever seen that even remotely reminds me of something bought from the store.  I am not a fan of using food in my hair.  I’m not putting mushed up bananas or avocados on my head when there are starving children in the world.  *shrugs*

Okay, I’ve talked enough.  Here are the recipes.

Conditioner (makes 8 ounces)

  • 13 grams conditioning emulsifier (a.k.a. BTMS, see the note on this ingredient below)
  • 45 grams shea butter
  • 75 grams coconut oil
  • 15 grams mango butter
  • 77 grams distilled water or aloe vera juice
  • 3 grams Optiphen (you can skip this if you use it within a month and keep it in the fridge)
  • 30 drops ylang ylang essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 30 drops rosehip seed oil
  • 25 drops lavender essential oil
  1. Melt the conditioning emulsifier, shea butter, coconut oil, mango butter all together.  You can use a double boiler or use a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-second increments until JUST melted.
  2. Heat up the water or aloe for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Add to the oils.  Using an immersion blender, blend until combined.  Stir in your essential oils and Optiphen.  Pour into your container.
  3. Apply to wet hair after shampooing.  Massage in and let it sit for 5 minutes (more if you want, I guess.  I’ve never tried longer than 10 minutes.)  Rinse out thoroughly using cool water.  Style as usual.  Try this recipe for shea mango hair butter for your styling product.  Makes your hair shiny and soft!


  • 68 grams castile soap (any scent you like!)
  • 45 grams shea butter
  • 45 grams coconut oil
  • 57 grams distilled water or aloe vera juice
  • 11 grams conditioning emulsifier (optional!)
  1. Melt the shea butter, coconut oil and emulsifier together in the same way as above.
  2. Heat up the water or aloe for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Add to oils.  Gently pour in the soap.  Using an immersion blender, blend until combined.  Pour into your container.
  3. Apply to wet scalp.  Massage using the pads of your fingers, not your nails.  Rinse out thoroughly.  Condition if you have time but if not, you’ll be okay!

Note: BTMS stands for behentrimonium methosulfate.  I know sulfates are “bad” but that’s not 100% true.  It’s the soapy sulfates you really want to avoid like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium sulfates.  BTMS also contains cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol, which are about the only 2 alcohols I will use on my hair since they’re fatty alcohols and quite moisturizing.  Lastly, I use BTMS-50, not BTMS-25 but if you do decide to use BTMS-25, I recommend adding cetyl alcohol to the recipe.  I never use BTMS at a percentage higher than 10%.

Check me out on Pinterest!  I pin good stuff, I promise.

12 thoughts on “Homemade Shampoo & Conditioner for Natural Hair

  1. I’ve been trying to find a way to try and replicate Shea Moisture shampoo. Your recipe helped a lot! I substituted decyl glucoside balanced with citric acid instead of castile soap since I have such hard water. I also used some half argan/half coconut instead of all coconut. The consistency came out the best yet of all the variations I’ve tried. Can’t wait to try it out!!!

  2. Hi again,
    Reiterative question, sorry to bother you. My shampoo bottle use to last for at least 3 months. Can I add the optiphen to this?. Or is it redundant?.
    Thanks a lot and kind regards. (I love every single one of your posts; awsome).

    • Hey! No not redundant at all. I would add the optiphen for such a long time just in case but I have kept mine a long time, probably about 2 months, without preservative with no problems.

  3. Could this shampoo recipe be used on young children? im looking for a shampoo recipe for my 2 and 3 year old. thank you

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